Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
The city of Chicago is set to update its emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine on Tuesday, with Indiana likely to be added to the list of states.
The update comes after health officials say a 13-year-old girl transmitted COVID-19 to 11 relatives, some from suburban Cook County, during a three-week vacation at a shared house over the summer.
Here are the latest updates from across Illinois on the coronavirus pandemic today (Oct. 13):
Chicago to Update Coronavirus Travel Order Requiring 14-Day Quarantine
The city of Chicago on Tuesday is set to update its emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine.
Last week, the city removed two states, added one and placed Indiana on a warning list for the city’s emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine.
Chicago health officials removed Georgia and Texas from the list and added Alaska, the city said in a statement.
The travel order now covers 22 states and territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Travelers entering or returning to Chicago from “states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases” will need to quarantine “for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state” under the order, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says. Essential workers could be exempt from the quarantine requirement, however, as long as their employer certifies their work in writing.
States are added to the list if they have “a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.” If they fall below that threshold, they could be removed as well.
The city also issued a warning that Indiana has surpassed the threshold for inclusion and will be added to the list next week if the state cannot bring down its daily average number of cases. It was not added this week to “allow residents enough time to plan travel to this border state,” the city said.
Chicago’s travel order, which began on July 6, is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday.
Several Cook County Residents Contracted COVID-19 From Teen Relative During Family Vacation: CDC
A 13-year-old girl transmitted COVID-19 to 11 relatives, including several from suburban Cook County, during a three-week family vacation at a shared house this summer, according to local health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC released detailed findings of the case in an online report Friday, emphasizing the outbreak highlights several important issues, including that children and adolescents can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The teenage girl was exposed to the virus during a large outbreak in June 2020, and because of her exposure, she sought testing after returning home, according to the CDC.
A rapid antigen test performed four days after exposure, when the teen was asymptomatic, was negative. Two days later, the 13-year-old experienced nasal congestion, her only symptom of the virus. That same day, she, her parents, and two brothers traveled to a gathering with 15 other relatives.
It’s not known if the girl and her immediate family members are from Cook County.
A total of 14 relatives from four states, including the patient, stayed in a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house for 8–25 days and did not wear face masks or practice physical distancing.
An additional six relatives visited on two occasions, one of which was when six individuals staying in the home were potentially infectious. The six visiting relatives maintained physical distance and remained outdoors, but did not wear face masks.
Of those who stayed in the house, 12 individuals, including the teen girl, were found to have COVID-19.
One person who contracted the coronavirus was hospitalized and another sought emergency department care for respiratory symptoms; both recovered, officials said. None of the six relatives who remained outdoors and maintained physical distance developed symptoms.
The Cook County Department of Public Health confirmed that several individuals involved were from suburban Cook County, but didn’t provide additional information, citing privacy concerns.
County health officials that the community is not at risk as a result of the cases.
According to the CDC, the investigation of the case provides evidence of the benefit of physical distancing as a strategy to prevent the virus.
The situation also reinforces the recommendation that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after a known exposure or after travel when mandated by local authorities.
While the CDC didn’t say where the gathering took place or which states the family members resided in, a footnote in the article cites the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Georgia Department of Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
As Indiana Continues to Break Case Records, State Could Be Added to Chicago’s Quarantine List
For the eleventh day in a row, Indiana on Monday broke its own record for average daily new coronavirus cases.
The state is currently averaging more than 1,600 new cases of coronavirus per day, more than twice its average during the May “peak.”
At the same time, the daily new case rate per 100,000 residents on Monday sat at 22.4, well above the threshold needed to be added to Chicago’s travel order, which would require travelers visiting and returning to the city from Indiana to quarantine for 14 days. Currently, states with a rate of 15 or higher are added to Chicago’s list.
Chicago health officials last Tuesday issued a warning that Indiana has surpassed the threshold for inclusion on the city’s coronavirus travel order and would be added to the list this week if the state did bring down its daily average number of cases.
Indiana was not added last week to “allow residents enough time to plan travel to this border state,” the city said. City officials are expected to update the travel list Tuesday.
Already, Indiana has a higher positivity rate than any of its adjacent states with a rate of 9.4% on Monday.
Health officials in the state reported 1,581 new cases of coronavirus Monday, along with six additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to data released by the Indiana State Department of Health, Monday’s new cases bring the statewide total to 136,555 total cases since the pandemic began, with 3,568 total fatalities related to COVID-19.
In the last 24 hours, 21,657 total tests were administered to 9,848 Indiana residents. Over the last seven days, the state’s positivity rose slightly to 5.3% on all tests and 9.4% on individuals tested during that time.
A total of 1,495,852 individuals have been tested, with 2,357,865 total tests administered during the pandemic.
As of Monday, state officials reported 15.6% of Indiana’s intensive care unit beds were in use by coronavirus patients, while 35.6% were available.
Ventilator use rose slightly to 4.2% of ventilators in use by COVID-19 patients and 78.7% available statewide.
Illinois Reports 2,742 New Coronavirus Cases, 13 Additional Deaths Monday
Illinois health officials on Monday reported 2,742 new coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths over the last 24 hours.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Sunday’s figures bring the state’s total to 321,892 cases and 8,997 deaths since the pandemic began.
As of Sunday, state officials reported 377 coronavirus patients were occupying intensive care unit beds in Illinois, with 1,503 available.
Of COVID-19 patients, 153 were on ventilators with 4,437 remaining available, state health officials reported.
Illinois’ recovery rate remains at 96%, which is calculated as the recorded cases divided by the sum of recovered cases and deceased cases.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last week that while many of the state’s healthcare regions were seeing “promising declines,” “that progress has cooled.”
“We are seeing changes in positivity averages around the state level off, with three regions that were decreasing last week now sitting at a stable level,” he said during a virtual update last Wednesday.
Still, on Friday state health officials loosened the stricter mitigations that had been in place for weeks in Region 4, allowing the area to return to phase four guidelines Friday afternoon as positivity rates declined there.
Chicago-Area Small Business Owners Seeking Stimulus Aid
Chicago-area small business owners want Washington D.C. to take notice of their struggles as the government debates a new round of relief aid for businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t want to be another empty building on the street of our great downtown,” said Heidi Vance, owner of Team Blonde, a boutique in Forest Park.
Vance said her business is experiencing lower revenue and higher expenses due to the pandemic.
“A stimulus package would absolutely help us, a hundred percent,” Vance said.
As the debate over another stimulus package continued in Washington D.C. Friday, local business owners said they’re running out of time. NBC 5’s Chris Coffey reports.
While nice weather in recent weeks has helped with outdoor dining, restaurant owners like Patrick O’Brien of Scratch Restaurant Group said they are concerned about how colder temperatures will impact their business.
“Without a stimulus going into the winter, I don’t know if all four of my locations will see the spring,” O’Brien said.
Jonathan Biag said he was expecting a big year at his escape room business, Escape Factor. But the pandemic changed everything.
“Now we only have our employees coming in when we have customers coming in because we just can’t afford to have people here non-stop,” Biag said.
Biag said customers who visit his business can safely enjoy the activities in self-contained rooms. He also said he is hopeful for stimulus aid because “every little bit will help.”
On Twitter Friday, President Trump said “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”
Rep. Bost of Illinois Tests Positive for COVID-19
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest lawmaker now confirmed to have the virus.
The Republican whose district covers most of deep southern Illinois tested positive late Thursday, according to a statement from his office Friday. He had experienced “a mild cough and a rapid loss of both taste and smell,” prompting him to take the test.
“We are taking this situation seriously and will continue to serve the people of Southern Illinois while doing our best to ensure their health and safety,” he said in a statement. “I will provide additional updates in the days ahead and am anxious to get back to work as soon as I make a full recovery.”
In recent days, White House staff and a growing number of lawmakers have tested positive, including Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal of California and Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican.
Bost said he’ll quarantine and postpone his public schedule as he isolates and that the staff members he’s been in contact with will do the same. His office was also reaching out to constituents he had met with in recent days. Bost said he has consulted with the Capitol’s attending physician.
Bost, a former state legislator, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2014. He is now seeking a fourth term.
26 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level’ for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say
Twenty-six counties in Illinois are now at a “warning level” for coronavirus, the state’s health department said Friday
The warning means each of the counties saw increases in two or more COVID-19 “risk indicators,” the health department said.
The counties now under a warning include: Case, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Effingham, Fayette, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lee, Mason, Massac, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Shelby, Union, Vermilion, Whiteside, Winnebago, Warren.
Last week, 28 counties were at a “warning level.” The week before that it was 17.
“Although the reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with university and college parties as well as college sports teams, large gatherings and events, bars and clubs, weddings and funerals, family gatherings, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, schools, and cases among the community at large, especially people in their 20s,” the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement.
IDPH said officials observed businesses “blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups and not using face coverings.”
“Mayors, local law enforcement, state’s attorneys and other community leaders can be influential in ensuring citizens and businesses follow best practices,” IDPH added.
After Weeks of Heightened Restrictions, Region 4 Returning to Phase 4, Officials Announce
After weeks of heightened coronavirus restrictions, Illinois’ Region 4 can finally return to phase four guidelines alongside the majority of the state.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the area, also known as the Metro East region, could return to phase four beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
The region – which includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties – had been under increased restrictions since Aug. 18, when the area had three consecutive days of rolling positivity rates at or above 8%. On Sept. 2, even more restrictions were put in place as the positivity rate climbed.
As of Friday, the area had a positivity rate of 5.8%.
“We are excited to see that after weeks of mitigation measures and sacrifice, Region 4 has reduced its positivity rate and can return to Phase 4,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “It takes communities working together to reduce the spread of the virus and lower the positivity rate. I want to thank Region 4 for its hard work to decrease the risk for all of Illinois.”
Pritzker had hinted earlier this week that the restrictions may soon be lifted as positivity rates continued to decline in the area.
“After falling from a peak seven-day average positivity of over 10%, Metro East then leveled off between an average of 7% and 8% positivity for several weeks, and has recently dropped to a new low of 6.3%,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “As of this morning, that’s enormous progress. And if the region sustains an average below the 6.5% threshold, Region 4 could see a return to the looser mitigations enacted in most of the state as soon as Friday.”
Currently, only one other Illinois region is under heightened mitigations. Region 1, which holds Rockford, Dixon and Galena, saw increased restrictions begin on Saturday.